“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around sometimes you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller
On a Thursday afternoon, I locked the door to my dorm room and slouched down on the couch.
All I could hear was the ticking sound of the clock on the wall. I thought I could hold myself up till the weekend, but it had to be done earlier. In the silence my body relaxed and I thought of nothing. It was exactly what I needed. I set down for a good half an hour and when I felt ready, I chugged on with life.
There is a sort of energy that could be found in simply slouching down on the couch for a brief moment during the week. It’s a secret that I don’t usually tell around people about. When people ask me what I was doing, I say things like “Oh, just homework and some reading” even when I know what I was really doing was doing nothing. There is a bit of shame in admitting that I enjoy “doing nothing” because we live in a world where we are told that we need to be on our toes all the time. We need to be doing something always, be productive, and make most out of what we have.
As a third-year college student, I structure my weekly plans around various different deadlines and meetings. My planner is highlighted, circled, and underlined with different colors and capital letters to alert myself to keep myself busy. Faster and faster.
Faster Internet, faster cars, faster computer program updates, fast food, and so on, we love fast. However, at the end of the day, all we are left with is the question “where did all that time go?” and a feeling of emptiness, dissatisfaction, and regrets. It’s about time we start practicing slowness in our lives so we could be enriched by what life really has to offer for us. Here are some practical tips to practicing slowness in our lives.
Enjoy what you are eating
We are used to grabbing food to go. We often times eat that sandwich on our hand in a brisk 3 minutes on our way to the next meeting, class, etc. When was the last time you were eating for the sake of eating? Sit down and take your time trying to enjoy every bite of your food. You’d be amazed how much pleasure and a sense of gratitude you’ve been missing out on.
Lose track of time
Pick a day and a certain time period, say 1-5 pm on a Saturday. Set an alarm to go off at 5 and till then, don’t look at the time. Your cellphone, watch, or even laptop clock, just forget it all. Meanwhile, spend your time doing something you love. Be creative. Let yourself be lost in track of time. Be pressure-free from deadlines and time limits.
Stop taking photos all the time
Don’t get me wrong. I love taking photos. Sometimes, taking photos can be the means of enjoying the very moment of life and allows us to embrace slowness of life. Yet, the Millennials these days take photos constantly throughout the day to quickly capture and share vignettes of life that could be enjoyed more thoroughly only if we weren’t trying to find the right filter on Instagram to make the image look prettier.
Once in a while, look up at the sky. We are busy most of the times looking straight into the streets we are walking. But the clouds, the sun, the moon, and the stars are there around you. They are timeless and beautiful.
Drink your coffee not to stay awake
I am a huge coffee lover, but it’s only in fewer occasions that I drink coffee just to drink coffee. Many times I find myself chugging black coffee to get the caffeine in my system. I end up staying awake and try finishing the work that I need to get done with, but I know deep in my heart, staying awake is overrated. I underestimate the need for sleep. But sleep is so good, so good. And you know it.
I must admit, I have hard time following these tips myself too (especially “stop taking photos all the time”). It takes efforts to practice slowness. Yet it’s worthwhile and fulfilling.